ACT XII: NEW WORKS ON PAPER

Raymond Arnold, Jon Campbell, Gunter Christman, Jazmina Cininas, Lesley Duxbury, Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Mitch Lang, Noel McKenna, Deborah Paauwe, George Popperwell, Bernhard Sachs, Hossein Valamanesh
Act XII: New works on paper
2003
George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne
UTS gallery, University of Technology, Sydney
Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide

 

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
The plight of the birds
2003
Two-color lithographic offset print hand colored with pencil and pearl ex pigment additions on blue Magnani PESCIA 2021/P 300gsm paper
Paper size, 56cm X 76cm
Printed by Redwood Prints
Edition of 25

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
The tears of the elephant
2003
Two-color lithographic offset print hand colored with pencil and pearl ex pigment additions on buff Magnani PESCIA 2021/G 300gsm paper
Paper size, 56cm X 76cm
Printed by Redwood Prints
Edition of 25

Two prints created especially for Act XII: New Works on Paper exhibited alongside a display of our artists' books.

 
Recent work by twelve Australian artists who have a particular affinity with paper: Raymond Arnold, Jon Campbell, Gunter Christmann, Jazmina Cininas, Lesley Duxbury, Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Mitch Lang, Noel McKenna, Deborah Paauwe, George Popperwell, Bernard Sachs and Hossein Valamanesh.  These invited artists each explore ideas of performance, the stage and enactment through printmaking, drawing, painting, collage, artist's books, sculpture and digital images.
(Act XII: New Works on Paper, A Victorian Arts Centre touring exhibition)


The plight of the birds featured on the cover of The Print Council of Australia's magazine, IMPRINT, Volume 38, Number 3, Spring 2003.

Twelve acts in time: staging art on paper
Lesley Harding, Curator
2003

Since its birth over 2000 years ago, paper has been both currency and disseminator of culture and ideas. Its relevance has long since reached global proportions. Who of us in the Western world, despite the advances of technology and aspirations for a 'paperless office', does not encounter paper everyday? Paper transmits information, conveys ideas, and is the most democratic of supports. But above all, paper has a memory. It bears human marks and meanings almost sacrificially.

The works in Act XII are linked by two things: they are made on or with paper, and they coalesce in a performative thematic context, which broadly considers notions of staging in art and the artistic enactment of ideas. The act of making art — the creating process — is intrinsic to the finished product. So, in addition to the message, story, symbolism, subject or motif, and the artist's own predilections and history, an artwork is as bound by the act of its creation as it can be by the period and milieu of its creation. The gestural act is a moment which sums up an accumulation of moments (as a part of history and its place in the artist's life) and is a function of time.

...

Using diaries of a different kind, Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison have made an art of their everyday. In Melbourne in 31 days and 30 days in Vienna, the most recent of eight collaborative artists' books, they couple detailed diarised text — more stream of consciousness than interpretation — that chronicles the pair's activities over a predetermined period, with the collected haberdash of life. Together with scanned images, hand-drawn pictures, notation and intricate embellishment, the books make for insightful and delightful reading. Part of a journey, the book made in Melbourne became a performance piece at the Weinstation in Vienna in March 2002. The performance was a turning point, metaphorically blurring the experience of the months. The experience of the Vienna trip was compiled for another book on the artists' return; the gestural act in real time.

The openness and delicacy of these works can also be seen in Haby and Jennison's pale, luminous prints of fantasy lands. Their The plight of the birds and The tears of the elephant are two optimistic tales, depicting a search for happiness in which narrative time is mapped by the fine longitudinal lines that pattern the print surface. In recounting real stories and creating imagined tales, Haby and Jennison engage the motions of staging — shifts in time, scale and space — to make art out of art's own enactment.

 

ACT XII: New Works on Paper catalogue essay
Marita Smith

Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison have worked collaboratively for the past five years, using paper as their primary medium. From a series of carefully constructed, limited edition artists' books through to works on and with paper, their intimate art pieces record, deconstruct and respond to experiences in various countries and varying circumstances.

Their two most recent artists' books depict their shared love of travel, both real and imagined. Their work Melbourne in 31 days presents a tale told in unnumbered pages. Housed in a delicately constructed straw board box, it comprises two volumes. the first, a manuscript by Jennison in a continuous stream, chronicles the activities of one month. It opens with waking on the first day and concludes with going to bed one month later. The second volume, an assemblage of ephemera acquired in the same month - a ticket stub, a letter extract, a receipt, a menu card are mementos held onto, small visual clues of days past serving as memory cues.

30 days in Vienna, bound by the artists with an exposed spine and square knot binding technique learnt in Switzerland, combines interpretive text by Haby with images, both of which are woven through collaged layers.

These exquisite volumes command quiet contemplation. Their primary concern is the paradox of preserving the ephemeral. They capture ordinary moments, elevating the significance of everyday experience.

While the books attempt to preserve time, two lithographic offset prints, The plight of the birds and The tears of the elephant, have no tangible reference points. They create whimsical landscapes with ambiguous narratives open to many levels of interpretation. Drawing from a history of imaginary voyages, these works engage the senses and create a warm tension.

For Haby and Jennison, life and art nourish each other. Their travels provide inspiration and content, and threads of their art-making experience are woven into their stories. Though this may not be a conscious pursuit, the interdependence of art and life is an emerging theme in their recent body of work. The artists' journey is compelling.

Haby and Jennison are Fine Arts graduates of RMIT (Haby with Honours) and have exhibited together locally and abroad. They were awarded the Australia Council for the Arts, New Work for Emerging Artists grant in 2000 and the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists in 2002. They are represented in the collection of the State Library of Victoria and in private collections.